Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Here at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, we're proud to provide young talent with the experience they need for their future careers.

And with the current decline in the jobs market - a trend which is likely to hit those under 25 hardest - showing no signs of abating, it is now more important than ever to support the next generation and give them the opportunity to develop their workplace skills.

Coming straight out of university into the real world can be daunting for many, and placement years can provide valuable opportunities for undergraduates to experience the workplace before they complete their qualifications.

Not only does this help them to identify what they want to achieve in their future, but it enables them to discover what skills they will need to develop to get there. 

With this in mind, we sat down with last year’s undergraduates, Callum Cockell and Acshayan Savundrarajan, to hear about how their year’s work experience has impacted on them. We were also joined by two students from our latest intake, Pieter ’t Hoen and Bryony Cannon, who started with us this month.

Callum Cockell, last year’s analytical intern and management with finance undergraduate, said:  “I wanted to build my confidence within a workplace environment, and I was impressed with how the previous undergraduate Alice had built up her confidence while working with the business. That was what initially drew me in.”

Pieter ’t Hoen, a Management undergraduate, added: “I was unsure what I wanted to do in my future career, and I thought a work placement would help me get an idea of what career path was right for me.”

All undergraduates that join BNP Paribas Personal Finance have the flexibility to learn and develop within their chosen departments. Gaining this at such an early stage in their career gives them an understanding of the workplace and how they can apply their classroom taught skills to the work environment.

Both undergraduates worked on live projects within their departments, where they had the chance to grow their skillsets and watch their hard work turn into reality.

Acshayan Savundrarajan, last year’s marketing and proposition intern (Accounting and Finance undergraduate), commented: “I worked on the retail platform Your Plan, helping to optimise the customer journey and making it seamless to use. It was really rewarding to work on a project that I know my family and friends will use in the future.”

Callum Cockell, our analytical intern and management with finance undergraduate, added: “I was one of the first people to work on the data visualisation tool Tableau. I learned how the program could transform the future of the company - which in itself was an amazing experience!”

Another important aspect of our placement year is learning how to network and build professional friendships within the business. All our undergraduates are brought together for sessions in which they are encouraged to build a support network where they can share their insights and experiences from various departments.

This year the undergraduates also joined the work football team, which helped to further develop a community spirit amongst the students.

Supporting our undergraduates throughout their placement enables them to build the confidence to ask questions, furthering their professional development. Each student has a department manager and their own mentor to guide them through the year.

As our two previous undergraduates look forward to completing their qualifications, we asked our newest additions about what they were looking forward to in the year to come:

Pieter 't Hoen, Management undergraduate said: “I’m looking forward to developing the classroom-based skills I’ve learnt and putting them into practice within the workplace environment.”

Bryony Cannon, Accounting and Finance undergraduate, explained: “I can’t wait to contribute to projects and apply the skills I have already learned - and I am excited to learn how all the departments interlink and how the business works.”

Callum and Acshayan’s top tips for undergraduates at BNP Paribas Personal Finance:

  1. Get to know your colleagues, especially within the first few weeks. The BNP Paribas Personal Finance workforce is extremely friendly!
  2. Don’t be scared to ask questions and communicate with your line manager or Vicky and the rest of the talent, careers and development team. They are great connections throughout the business so they can help you with anything.
  3. When you begin to participate in meetings, don’t be shy to join in the discussion - it’s the perfect time to learn about the business and projects that are happening.